This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Exploring Socialization Processes in Mothers’ Styling of their African American Millennial Daughters’ Hair




Purvis, Saufeeyah

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Consumer and Design Sciences


In many cultures, hair has been a long-standing representation of beauty (Bankhead & Johnson, 2014). For African Americans, notions about hair have been passed down from teachings perpetuated during slavery. These teachings about hair were embedded in the acculturation process, then developed into socialization practices. Previous research has not specifically focused on the role of socialization in the hairstyling process of African Americans. This study’s purpose was to explore how African American daughters remember their mothers’ styling of their hair. Qualitative methods, revealed how their mother’s socialized them and what they valued as important through hairstyling. A questionnaire completed by 293 African American millennial females found that participants were covertly socialized through hairstyling practices. Additional findings revealed that participants intend to continue with some of the hairstyling practices that their mothers implemented, but they want to avoid practices they perceive as damaging or unhealthy.